ESPN did a story about Madison Holleran, a U of Penn runner that committed suicide. Everyone was shocked because on her Instagram page she looked so happy. Hey everyone, news flash here, most people only let you see their "good side" on social media. Do I post pics of myself or my fam looking bad? Of course I don't. (well, except when I posted one of Henry getting his braces & he had that mouth thing in, but it was hilarious!) Do I want people to think I've got it all together all the time? Of course I do! For those of you who already didn't know, social media is not real life. For those who post selfies, how many do you have to take until you get the "perfect" one?
I mentioned above that I really like social media. You know why? I can see pictures and videos of friends and their children. I can find a good _________ (fill in the blank) in my town. I can sell things on FB trading sites. It's great. Their are lots of pitfalls as well. Social media will suck your time down a black hole. It can make you feel "less than" others. It can make you feel left out and unloved by friends, or you can find out people you thought were friends are not really friends at all! And that last sentence is the most hurtful of all!
I'm about to tell you a little about how Hopson & I parent, so if you don't want to read it, just skip to the last paragraph. If you're interested or just a little curious, by all means, read on! We are strict about cell phones & social media. There are some rules that we have that we don't bend on, and we have very specific reasons behind them. So, here you go.
- If you are a child in our home, you don't get a cell phone until you turn 12. Would it have been better for Henry to have one at 10, yes. He's the youngest of 4 & I was driving around all over town & it would have helped if I could text him to let him know I was going to be a few minutes late, but if you're not 12, no phone, period.
- A cell phone is not = to a smart phone. You can have a flip phone when you turn 12, not a smart phone. I don't care if it costs the same or less, and I don't care if you're the only person in middle school without one. I can't think of one good reason for a tween to have a smart phone.
- You can get your first smart phone when you are a senior in high school. There are several reasons for this.
- You can text from a regular phone, and that's all you really need to do. You can check email when you get home.
- You need to spend more time talking face to face with your friends, not playing games or getting on YouTube or Instagram or Facebook or Snap Chat. Look them in the eyes and converse with them, I know it's a novel idea, but you ought to try it, because it's really amazing!
- You're not going to use all our data up watching stupid videos or playing games when you could be talking and playing face to face with your friends.
- You may have a Facebook and Instagram account when you enter high school. I will be your first friend & if you don't like it, so sorry. (not really) You can only get on it from a home computer anyway. Do people really like seeing 5K duck faced selfies? There are a lot of studies about selfies & what it's doing to this generation...makes for some interesting reading.
- You don't need to be on social media all day. Hence, why no smart phone until you're a senior. I had someone tell me that they were astonished at how much time tweens and teens spend on their smart phones. It has handicapped their social skills. Don't believe me, just sit back and watch. When you tell a group of teens to talk, they equate it with being on their phones. It's like they're two years old again & are engaging in parallel play. The whole goal when children are 2 is to help them engage in appropriate interactive play. Playing WITH someone, not beside them. Don't believe me, just watch.
Yes, Hopson and I realize that we are those parents. If I've offended you with this post, first off I would tell you that what you do with your kids is your business. Second, I would ask you why you're offended. These are the policies for our fam. We have found that they have helped our children be able to converse in an adult's world. We found that it has helped them not be narcissistic & realize that the world doesn't revolve around them. But that's another post for another time.